It’s hard to say if Earth Defense Force: World Brothers is better or worse than Iron Rain. If you stick with tried and true EDF characters to play as, it’s probably better. If you try to use its weird gimmick characters, it’s probably worse. While some missions in an EDF game can be a bit frustrating, I definitely think they do their best to make each mission fun. Even at its worst, it still controls and plays well. In both of Yuke’s Earth Defense Force games, I feel like frustration is the status quo. Enemy placement seems less thoughtful and even when the enemy design isn’t something you have to struggle against, you’re still left with the controls not feeling very good. Between that and so few characters feeling good to use, the times in which I had fun in this game are few and far between.
Loop Hero is a lot of fun, and gives you that “one more run” feeling that great rogue-likes tend to do. It’s incredibly unique also, there really isn’t anything out there like this. If you like rogue-likes, if you like strategy games, if you like card games even, I think each of those are vectors that one could take to find enjoyment in this game. For $15, you can’t go wrong with this.
Pendragon has me a bit conflicted; there’s nothing about it that’s bad, I just wish there was more of it. It’s a bit difficult for me to recommend, too. I feel like you really gotta be into the idea of a dynamic narrative and doing playthrough after playthrough to learn more about it. Had this been a more unique setting with unique characters, it might be a different story. It all being Arthurian mythology means that I have at least some familiarity with what happened and who everyone is. How long this game lasts is gonna vary wildly. You could be like me and luck out on your second playthrough and get to the end, and decide that’s enough, but that’s not really a full experience. You could spend a few hours or maybe upwards of 10 hours if you’re into the concept enough. $17 on Steam is a pretty reasonable price, if this sounds like your thing.
I don’t think I can recommend this adaptation of Fairy Tail. For people that aren’t fans of Fairy Tail, there’s not much here other than a mostly competent RPG. For people that are fans, there’s just heavily truncated and compromised versions of the things they like. There’s some fun character interactions in the side quests, but I don’t think it justifies a $60 price tag. It’s a fairly lengthy game at around 40 hours, but most of this time is spent just being disappointed. If you’re a real diehard fan, and you just have to play this, then I’d at least recommend waiting for the price to drop.
Evan’s Remains is a neat little game, it’s only a few hours long, but I enjoyed my time with it. A good and fun mystery to unravel with some nice emotional moments and some puzzles to solve. As good a recipe as any, I think. The release date is a ways off at June 11th, and there’s no set price yet. Even though I think this game comes short of being something special, if you like puzzle platformers, this is worth putting in your collection.
Still, I do think the DLC is well worth it if you like Dead Cells. It’s more of a good game, and I’d argue that it’s some of the better content, at least as far as the early game goes. The weapons are all really fun too. It’s $5, and even though you can technically see all of the content within 20 minutes, this is a rogue-like. You’re gonna be replaying it quite a lot, and on a larger timescale, which adds quite a lot of variety. The base game is $25, and while that might seem somewhat steep for what the game is, I’ve put over a hundred hours into the game, so it’s well worth it.
Despite some qualms here and there, I overall enjoyed my time with Banner of the Maid. It’s not exactly the best in its genre, but it manages to carve out its own niche. Its a rather unexplored time period in video games. Most RPGs and SRPGs tend to just go for a medieval fantasy setting, or sci-fi setting, so something like this manages to stand out. It’s $17 on Steam, which is a very fair price for this. I could recommend this if you’re wanting a SRPG and can forgive a rough localization.
Black Future ’88 surprised me quite a bit. It’s a very rewarding and addicting game, and you’ll catch yourself saying “just one more run” every time you die. Its short length and fast pace makes it very conducive to replaying, and unlike some rogue-likes, it’s fun to play pretty much immediately. Even in a genre where a game like Dead Cells stands tall, this can certainly stand on its own merits. If you like rogue-likes and platforming action games even a little bit, this is an easy recommendation. It’s $20 on Steam and the Nintendo Switch eShop, and even though a successful run lasts 18 minutes or less, you can easily sink 10+ hours into it.
Bug Fables starts out as a totally fine homage to Paper Mario, but as you play the game you realize that the game has a lot to offer. If you really want something in that sort of ballpark, this game is definitely worth your time. If you don’t like Paper Mario specifically, then its a bit harder to recommend. It’s currently $20 on Steam, and beating it will likely take around 30-35 hours, and if you’re a completionist, it can easily get over 40 hours. I think it’s a little too long for its own good, but still worthwhile.
Evaluating this game is pretty tricky. I certainly had fun with what I played. As far as being a versus mode of a much larger game, its a neat little novelty that some folks might play around with for a couple hours. As its own game? Hard to recommend, unless you maybe have a friend group of passionate Shovel Knight fans. Though in that case, I’d assume they would have Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove already, and thus this is just a free update. It’s $10 on its own, which certainly is a fair price. However, I’d say Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove at $40 is a better deal. With that you get Shovel Knight and three additional full campaigns, as well as Showdown. At that price, you’re basically getting Showdown as a free bonus.
I can certainly still recommend the game, but mainly only for those with nostalgia for those old monster collecting games. If you don’t like them, this won’t change your mind. If you do, it might be worth checking out, if you feel like you can get past the weird leveling quirk. It might not blow you away, and it might make you just want to play those old games instead, but its got its own twists that you might end up really liking it. It’s $15 on Steam, and should take at least 20 hours to play through it, and I’d say its worth it.
Overall I don’t think it’s one of the best rogue-likes I’ve played, but I think it stands above your garden variety rogue-like. Its gimmick makes playing through the game really fast, yet it still demands careful planning. For just $8 on Steam and the Switch, it’s not a bad deal at all if you’re looking for something on a very low budget. It’ll probably last you 10-20 hours or so, depending on just how good you are at playing cautiously.
I am glad Metal Wolf Chaos has a modern release. I just wish it didn’t have the problems it does. I’d also argue that it’s perhaps best remembered from a distance. While the cutscenes and dialogue have a wonderful charm about them, the gameplay itself is not nearly as remarkable. The game is currently $25, and it’ll last you at least 10 hours, or more if you like it enough to try to get high scores. With the visual aspect of this game just not being up to par with the original, if you have the means to play the original, or own it already, I can’t see this remaster being a compelling purchase. For anyone that’s just curious, or wants to experience more of From Software’s library, I’d at least recommend trying to pick it up when it’s on sale and going in with tempered expectations.
Buying these games individually might’ve been a hard sell for some due to the almost non-existent story and generally very low run-time. The whole collection is a great value, though. For $20, you get three amazing platformers, and 20 hours worth of playtime, minimum.
I just have a hard time figuring out what the ambition or goal behind this game is. Who was this game for? I honestly don’t know of anyone that would find the writing style funny or would be willing to stick it out for the full length of the game. Personally, I think comedy is better when its balanced with drama. Having a focus on comedy doesn’t mean you have to constantly have an attempt at a joke in every single line of dialogue. It doesn’t help that none of the jokes landed for me. Maybe a small chuckle here and there, but more often than not, I found it annoying. I also don’t think it means you have to forego any sort of real character development. This feels like an episode of some bad “adult” cartoon sitcom but stretched to 30 hours. If you really like that sort of humor, I suppose I can recommend it. $15 is a pretty cheap price, so you might get your money’s worth. For everyone else though, I can’t recommend it.
I don’t like to equate money to time spent on a game. I think that’s a horrible way to value a game. I also don’t like to say that a game isn’t worth playing because some other game is better. However, this game utterly fails to be compelling or unique. There are so many better games in this genre, with so much more vision and so much more effort. In my opinion, this is simply not worth your time, and absolutely not worth your money.
I can’t say Just Shapes and Beats is a bad game, just is a game that’s not really for me. I prefer my rhythm games to be a bit more tactile in nature. If the core gameplay looks compelling to you, there’s certainly a lot to get out of this game here. A pretty sizable soundtrack, even a co-op mode with both local and network support. There’s a total of 39 songs, though you’ll have to unlock a good amount of them. There’s a challenge mode that tasks you with clearing two songs and a boss, and you earn in-game currency based on your performance used to unlock more songs. The playlist mode is basically just a free play, no string attached mode. This is the Hardcore Edition of the game, which also adds a Hardcore difficulty to both the Challenge and Playlist modes. This mode makes each song quite a bit harder, and changes up the experience quite a bit for each song. If the normal difficulty gets a bit too mundane for you, this should spice things up a bit. I don’t think I could personally recommend this game, but if the idea of it sounds appealing to you, it might be worth the $20 asking price. The story only takes a few hours to get through, but if you enjoy the gameplay, there’s tons of replayability to be had.
Despite some quibbles and the now trademark EDF performance problems, this is a very solid arcade shooter. It builds on the strengths of past games while addressing some of the issues that have cropped up. Less of a grind for a normal playthrough with the introduction of some very engaging enemy types. If you love EDF, you’ll be sure to love this. If you’ve never played these games before, this is basically as good as it gets, so feel free to jump in here. I sunk in about 100 hours into it, though it should take probably around 40-50 to beat it. It’s $60, which is a bit on the pricey side. If you’re a fan of past EDF games, I can recommend it at that price, if you’re a newcomer, waiting for a sale might be a good idea.
Is this an EDF game that EDF fans will enjoy? Honestly, I ended up feeling fairly disappointed. Which is a shame because I think there are a lot of neat ideas here. Weapons feel rather underpowered across the board, and enemies just have far too much health for their own good. Couple this with incredibly annoying AI, and it’s just a very frustrating experience. Suffice to say, it’s pretty lackluster compared to the mainline EDF titles. The game took me 10 hours to beat, though I put about a total of 30 into it with harder difficulties. At a $60 price tag, I can’t really recommend it. A sale might make this a more tempting offer. Overall, if you’re looking for a good EDF game, I’d give this a pass and look into the mainline titles instead.